Over the weekend, President Trump lambasted several African-American sports stars in the National Football League and the National Basketball Association, including Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry, for kneeling during the National Anthem.
Some, including Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, shot back by calling Trump a “bum.”
Trump insists his criticism of NFL players who kneel during the national anthem ― a means of protesting police brutality across the country ― is not racial in nature, Huffington Post reported:
“This has nothing to do with race. I’ve never said anything about race,” Trump told reporters in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Sunday. “I think the owners should do something about it. It’s very disrespectful to our flag and our country,” he added.
Trump called NFL players who kneel “sons of bitches” in a speech Friday in Alabama, and then he followed up on Twitter.
“It’s not what leaders do,” Curry said.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the practice of kneeling during the anthem in 2016 in solidarity with his relatives and friends who served in the military (unlike Trump), Boston Globe reported:
They fought for “freedom . . . liberty and justice,” Kaepernick said, and his protest was meant to “unify this team…unify this country” by drawing attention to shootings and mistreatment of innocent blacks – including veterans — by authorities.
LeBron James/Donald Trump Photo: The New Yorker (Trump)
Players from several football teams — more than 100 — kneeled or held arms during Sunday’s opening ceremonies.
Kaepernick deserves a Nobel Peace Prize nomination, said Dr. Harry Edwards, professor emeritus of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley and longtime staff consultant with the 49ers. Edwards is the author of “The Revolt of the Black Athlete,” reissued this year for its 50th anniversary edition, according to Democracy Now.
LeBron James said he’s frustrated with Trump’s eagerness to divide Americans:
“I think it’s basically at a point where I’m a little frustrated, man, because this guy that we’ve put in charge has tried to divide us once again. Obviously we all know what happened with Charlottesville and the divide that caused. Now it’s hit home more for me because he’s now using sports as the platform to try and divide us. We all know how much sports brings us together, the passion it has, how much we love and care, the friendships it creates. For him to use this platform to divide us even more is not something I can stand for and not something I can be quiet about.”
Edwards said athletes have been consistent, demonstrating and organizing with dignity, and projecting nonviolence, and commitment to programs.
And so, while you have people in the streets of Ferguson, you have people in the streets of Baltimore, you have people in the streets of St. Louis as we speak, these athletes are saying that, look, we can come together in unity and have an impact and make a difference.
I hope that he’ll become a person of the year—all of the athletes collectively—and I personally am pushing him for a Nobel Peace Prize nomination … I think he’s going to have that impact as we look back 20 years from now, 30 years from now. And I think it should be recognized.